Farmers’ Perception and Knowledge in Begomovirus Epidemiology and Control in Pakistan
Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan and the growing crops are called as the “spinal cord” of the state but still import bill of the country agricultural products is rising day by day and issues of the food security is also becoming grave because of less knowledge of farmers about the emerging abiotic and biotic stresses affecting the crop productivity. Among various biotic stresses, prevalence of begomoviruses is considered to be a major constraint in reducing the yields of economically important food and fiber crops. Farmers’ perception and their knowledge regarding begomoviruses epidemiology and practices are the pre-requisites for effective virus control. A farmer survey mostly having less than 12.5 acres land mostly of vegetables, rice and maize growers involving 250 randomly selected respondents from five major districts (Nankana, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Gujrat, and Lahore) of Punjab, Pakistan to inquire from them whether they are familiar with begomoviruses identification, their means of transfer from diseases inoculum to healthy plants and associated losses in fields, proper management of these losses on time, was conducted to better understand the farmer knowledge and practices and to set the possible pathways for intervention of effective virus control. Lack of sufficient technical information regarding vector of begomovirus, their transmission and disease symptoms was the major hindrance to the efforts of farmers for effective virus control. In addition, the farmers did not have sufficient knowledge of locally available methods of begomovirus control. The highest prioritization aspect of virus control for immediate attention were determined by decision making such as spider diagram. Use of effective pesticides, certified planting material, and begomovirus tolerant cultivars were found to be the most attention requiring virus control aspects which could have a greater influence to lower the virus prevalence in field crops. Present study suggests that enhancing the farmer knowledge is a highest prioritized key determinant of effective virus control strategy for implementation in Pakistan.
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